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Little Known UK Shale Firm Challenges Fracking Ban

UK’s oil company Aurora Energy Resources plans to challenge the government moratorium on fracking issued at the end of 2019, just a few months after Aurora had applied for permission to frack at a site in Lancashire, northwest England, the Guardian reports.

 

Aurora Energy Resources has dropped its application to frack two wellbores in Lancashire because of the “de facto ban on shale gas activity,” according to Aurora’s managing director Ian Roche.

 

In November 2019, the UK government ended support for fracking, after a report from the UK’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) concluded that “it is not possible with current technology to accurately predict the probability of tremors associated with fracking.”  

 

The UK government announced in November “a moratorium on fracking until compelling new evidence is provided,” after considering the OGA’s report and after several tremors at the fracking site of Cuadrilla at Preston New Road near Blackpool in Lancashire.

 

Cuadrilla had to stop fracking operations multiple times at the site, because under UK regulations, in case of micro seismic events of 0.50 on the Richter scale or higher, fracking must temporarily be halted and pressure in the well reduced.  

 

At the time of the moratorium announcement, Cuadrilla’s activities had been suspended since a magnitude 2.9 event was recorded on August 26, 2019.

 

“On the basis of the current scientific evidence, government is confirming today that it will take a presumption against issuing any further Hydraulic Fracturing Consents,” the UK government said in November, noting that “the shale gas industry should take the government’s position into account when considering new developments.”  

 

Aurora Energy Resources, which applied for permission to frack at the Altcar Moss well site in June, plans to “address this issue” with the moratorium with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Roche told the Guardian.

 

“It is clear from recent comments by the minister of state for energy that the government considers the ‘moratorium’ on hydraulic fracturing to be a de facto ban on shale gas activity in the UK. It is therefore perhaps unsurprising that the council officers have felt unable to determine this application,” Roche told the Guardian.


By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com


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